DEMING - Sometimes a little strategy works; sometimes it doesn't.
Entering championship night at Deming Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 21, Cain Cress trailed Lynden Lebedynski for the Kasey Kahne Junior Sprints points lead by a mere four points.
In an apparent effort to make up some of those points, Cress elected to drop to the back of the field on the first lap of the scramble - a six-lap shootout for starting position in the feature between the top six drivers in the points entering the night. The move gave Cress the chance to pick up passing points - awarded only to positions picked up from a driver's original starting position - and, therefore, points on Lebedynski, who won the scramble and the pole.
Perfect plan. The racing gods just didn't cooperate.
Cress was involved in a lap-5 caution, and Lebedynski ended up winning the feature and clinching the season championship.
"Just one of those nights where luck was on our side," the Langley, B.C., driver said of his win.
Burlington's Tristin Thomas dominated the 600 restricted feature to lock up his points title, after entering the night with a 63-point advantage over Isaac Abenroth.
Lebedynski and Thomas were joined by 600 points champion Liam Ryan and 1,200 champion Jared Gundersen, who had already clinched their season titles before racing started Saturday. Bow's Gundersen and Langley's Ryan also added the feature-points championship double on Saturday - as all four champions ended up winning their respective feature races.
Though it didn't end up the way Cress was hoping in the Junior Sprints, he made good progress early, working his way up to fifth on the first lap of the feature and to fourth three laps later.
But on lap five, Haylee Bloodgood came to a stop coming out of Turn 4 and collected race-leader Tyson Lemley. Cress had nowhere to go and ended up against the inside wall and had to restart in 11th. Making matters worse for Cress, Lebedynski assumed the lead with Lemley also having to move to the back of the field.
Cress didn't give up, though, charging back to his original starting spot of sixth by a lap 10 caution. He got under Trevor Douglas for fifth in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 11, and after a lap 15 caution, under Mitchel Helsel for fourth on lap 16.
But when Cress really needed a caution to close the field back up and give him a chance to pick up some more points, he couldn't get one. He ended up finishing fourth behind Lebedynski, Haley Constance and Peyton Hagen.
Lebedynski's title actually wasn't his only one of the day.
"We started the day at our quarter-midget track, and swept all three championship classes," Lebedynski said. "We had to hurry down here, and we just made it in time."
Ryan ended up picking up his third feature win in two nights on Saturday with his win in the 600, as he was a double winner in the 600 and 1,200 on Friday, Sept. 20, marking the third time in track history that one driver had accomplished the feat.
He was simply dominating on Saturday in the 600 A-Main, as nobody could mount a serious challenge despite the herky-jerky nature of the race with a number of yellow and red flags waving. Chase Schmidt ended up following him home ahead of third-place Spud Allen, who locked up second in the points.
"I had some fun," Ryan said. "I was just searching high and low, seeing where I could go. My guys told me to stick with high, and it really ran up there."
In the 600 restricted class feature, Thomas was never seriously challenged, as he went wire to wire. Abenroth kept the pressure on throughout, as he stayed in second and never lost sight of Thomas, but he was never able to put together a formidable challenge for the lead, either. B-Main winner Eric Turner worked all the way up to third.
Gundersen went wire-to-wire to win the 1,200 feature, though he did have to hold off a serious challenge from Tyson Cross on a green-white-checker restart, after Eric Turner and Dick Williams brought out a red flag with an ugly-looking wreck at the end of the front stretch.
Cross' second-place was enough for him to finish second in the season points, as he entered the night trailing Steven Hendrickson by just two markers. He and Hendrickson battled for second in the feature early, before Cross finally got the upper hand coming off Turn 2 on lap 7, and they finished in that order. Eric Drake followed in fourth.
"Tonight was awesome," Gundersen said. "I don't know how you could write it any better for the end, and Mother Nature decided to give us two nights of racing this weekend."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
A-Main results (25 laps): 1. (6) Jared Gundersen, 2. (09) Tyson Cross, 3. (13) Steven Hendrickson, 4. (22) Eric Drake, 5. (9) Clennon Holloway, 6. (87) Liam Ryan, 7. (10) Derek Holmwood, 8. (16z) Zach Keefe, 9. (10s) Frosty Metcalfe, 10. (44) Jake Helsel, 11. (21c) Jesse Branham, DNF (29) Eric Turner, DNF (7) Dick Williams, DNF (11m) Dewayne Mackey, DNF (98K) Kenzie Thomas, DNF (55r) Erik Ryason.
Top qualifier: (10s) Frosty Metcalfe. Scramble winner: (6) Jared Gundersen. Heat 1 winner: (10s) Frosty Metcalfe. Heat 2 winner: (87) Liam Ryan.
A-Main results (25 laps): 1. (87) Liam Ryan, 2. (76) Chase Schmidt, 3. (12) Spud Allen, 4. (10) Shaun Holtorf, 5. (71) Dustin O'Brien, 6. (29) Brandon Turner, 7. (83c) Chance Crum, 8. (1) Austin Sheridan, 9. (76k) Kyle Mitchell, 10. (78) Joe Constance, 11. (96) Greg Hamilton, 12. (4x) Tom Hovind, 13. (8) Kyle Kennedy, 14. (55) Kinser Kennedy, DNF (10R) Tanner Reid, DNF (17) Kevin Wilkinson, DNF (86) Jeff Little, DNF (14) Keith Wickard, DNF (N8) Nate Vaughn.
Top qualifier: Joe Constance. Scramble winner: (87) Liam Ryan. Heat 1 winner: (83c) Chance Crum. Heat 2 winner: (14) Keith Wickard.
A-Main results (25 laps): 1. (9T) Tristin Thomas, 2. (91) Isaac Abenroth, 3. (29) Eric Turner, 4. (23R) Dylan Resch, 5. (0) Ashleigh Johnson, 6. (78) Spencer Constance, 7. (41) Ashley Thompson, 8. (J10) Jaden Thomas. 9. (1W) Brandee Wood, 10. (55z) Riley Watkins, 11. (14) Reese Wickard, 12. (25) Darius Walker-Perkins, DNF (48T) Tanner Holm, DNF (39k) Kaitlyn Hammer, DNF (21) Jesse Scholtfeldt, DNF (76e) Eli Schmidt.
B-Main results (15 laps, top 4 advance): 1. (29) Eric Turner, 2. (22) Sawyer Sorgenfrei, 3. (0) Ashleigh Johnson, 4. (14) Reese Wickard, 5. (25) Darius Walker-Perkins, 6. (13K) Kassie LaBree, 7. (08) Lizzy Johnson.
Top qualifier: (29) Eric Turner. Scramble winner: (9T) Tristin Thomas. Heat 1 winner: (J10) Jaden Thomas. Heat 2 winner: (21) Jesse Schlotfeldt.
Kasey Kahne Junior Sprints
A-Main results (20 laps): 1. (54) Lynden Lebedynski, 2. (78) Haley Constance, 3. (18) Peyton Hagen, 4. (27c) Cain Cross, 5. (99) Mitchel Helsel, 6. (140 Trevor Douglas, 7. (10jr) Tyson Lemley, 8. (8) Peyton Rambow, 9. (59) Dakota Drake, 10. (78a) Arissa Lamm, DNF (4) Allison Johnson, 12. (340 Isabella Schlotfeldt, DNF (51F) Kyle Felver, DNF (02) Tyler McLeod, DNF (6H) Haylee Bloodgood.
Top qualifier: (18) Peyton Rambow. Scramble winner: (54) Lynden Lebedynski. Heat 1 winner: (02) Tyler McLeod. Heat 2 winner: (14) Trevor Douglas.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.